The book I am using is New Practical Chinese Reader 1 by the Beijing Language and Culture University Press. Volume 1 of the book has 14 lessons. Target end date is April 13, 2012.
MONDAY: Lesson Five – 餐厅在哪儿
Since the new words are discussed in the video anyway, let’s just focus on Chinese characters here! Our first two characters for this week have the same pronunciation but differ in tone. The first one is 二 and it means two while the other one is 儿 and it means son. Looking at the pictographs they once were, 二 is kind of easy to memorize. Wait, it IS easy to memorize. The original pictograph is that of a pair of chopsticks! The second one however is kind of difficult because of its weirdness. The pictograph is supposed to be that of an infant. The traditional character does look like a baby with a hole on the head, which does not paint a very nice picture in my imagination. The simplified character looks like a pair of legs with the “head” totally disappearing. And so I am once again weirded out. As mentioned, it means “son”.
TUESDAY: Lesson Five – 餐厅在哪儿
Our first character for the day 子 also means son. How many characters for son do they need! Seriously. This one, however, seems to be more like a common component to form other words. If you review some of our previous lessons you will find this as a part of a very popular set phrase that would most likely be the first you’ll ever learn when you pick up a Mandarin book! Anyway, this one does look like an infant and is thus, easier to memorize, at least for me. The second character 井 means well, as in that hole on the ground from where Sadako comes out to give you a seven day ultimatum. You don’t know who Sadako is? Were you living under a rock during the last decade? Again, I think this one is more of a component character used to lend its pronunciation rather than a widely used standalone Chinese character.
WEDNESDAY: Lesson Five – 餐厅在哪儿
These two are also used a lot in combination with other characters. The first one is quite common if you love watching DVDs or HBO with East Asian subtitles. 文 Means written language and when coupled with 中 , is mostly seen in subtitle choices for Chinese 中文. The second one 见 means to see and is often used with another character to form the set phrase for “good bye” or in a literal sense, “see you again”.
THURSDAY: Lesson Five – 餐厅在哪儿
Let’s take the easy one first. 四 means four and is easy to memorize because it is high frequency. Translation: because you have no choice. Haha. Let’s not dwell on this one for long. Let’s move to the next one, 且 which is used with other characters to form new words. It means and. I think this one mainly contributes its pronunciation to other words like 小姐 which means Miss, which I heard has a bad connotation when used in the southern parts of China because its meaning slightly changes. Is this true?
FRIDAY: Lesson Five – 餐厅在哪儿
Make sure to dedicate enough effort to know this next character by heart! 我 is very high frequency specially for us beginners. As you know, we often run out of issues to talk about so we just talk about ourselves! So expect to use a lot of I, I, I, I, I! 青, on the other hand, means blue-green when by itself but as we’ve already learned in previous lessons, this is used with another character to mean please 请 .
For next week I will still be covering lesson five. We are making progress! The goal is to pass the lowest level of the HSK in September 2012! =)